We Have No Excuse For Africa To Fail

150 African parliamentarians underline their strong commitment and key role in delivering the MDGs

Parliamentarians have a key role to play in the future of Africa; looking at budgets, providing scrutiny and oversight of government and more importantly, representing citizens with the force of their own convictions. And it is a role they are increasingly willing to take on.

So said Said Adejumobi, Head of Governance and Public Administration Division of UN Economic Commission for Africa in the opening day of the All Africa Parliamentary Conference being held in Addis Ababa which brought together over 200 parliamentarians from all political leanings and 20 African countries united in their committed to accelerating progress to achieving the MDGs.

In the opening session Corinne Woods, Global Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign underlined that “Parliamentarians are going to be crucial in the realization of the MDGs…they can ensure that promises made are promises kept.”

However, in spite of the knowledge sharing, and the passion and the commitment to the MDGs shared by all parliamentarians, important challenges still persist, as representatives from a cross section of African countries vividly explained. Democratic governance, lax tax systems which fail to generate local resources, weak institutions, donor dependency which compromises national ownership and lack of a shared vision for Africa were quoted by the representatives as major challenges.

Nevertheless, progress has been made on the MDGs in Africa- for example, according to the MDG Report 2011 Burundi, Madagascar, Rwanda, Togo and the United Republic of Tanzania have achieved or are nearing the goal of universal primary education. Considerable progress has also been made in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, Mozambique and Niger.

And with parliamentarians from across the continent fully engaged, clear policies for delivering the MDGs identified and resources are available, as the Honourable Alhassan Ado Garba from Nigeria Chair of the African Network of Parliamentarian for the MDGs said “We have no excuse for Africa to fail.”

UN Millennium Campaign Director, Corinne Woods, on the importance of Parliamentarians for implementation of the MDGs: